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Mid drive or hub motor on ebike?

Mid drive or hub motor on ebike?

Mid drive or hub motor

So you’ve arrived at a point where you’re curious about electric bikes, but which ones will be the best, for the type of journeys you make and what is the difference anyway.

One of the main differences may be the motors and where they drive the bike from. The motor may also be the first thing to consider when choosing an e-bike.

A Mid-drive motor sits in the bottom bracket area, right in between the pedal arms. This kicks into action through your pedalling. The other main type of motor is a hub motor this sits in the centre of a wheel, usually the rear but there are front wheel hub motors too. A front hub motor give the rider a the sensation that they’re being pulled, whereas a rear hub-motor is more of a pushing sensation.

Okay, mid drive or hub motor? What are the advantages and disadvantages between the two?

Mid drive motor

Best suits mountain bikers, tourers and anyone who wants a normal feel bike without feeling the hills. Lightweight wheels and any suspension option is possible. Also a good compromise for electric bicycle touring. Has rear drive traction, not too many rear spoke problems, often easier to ride unassisted than a hub motor e-bike.

  • Good for climbing up hills

  • Mid-drive motors benefits from that gearing change, enabling it to deliver more power and range.

  • Easier to maintain. The motor can easily be removed, serviced or replaced.

  • The motors position helps the bike feel centred and balanced. Allowing for easier handling.

  • Some mid-drive motors house sophisticated sensors that measure the pedal power, wheels speed, and crank speed to provide assist that blends with the riders power to create a very intuitive ride feel.

  • A more versatile option, giving the available options of quick release, internal hub gears etc. Front forks can be any type and both front and rear end of bike is kept light.

  • More miles in your battery

  • Can be more expensive

  • Cannot be retro fitted to any bike

  • Can cause more wear on the chain and cogs because this is where the power is transferred

  • The motor and battery benefit from efficient gear use, so if you’re new to cycling, it may take you some time to get the best from your bike

Front Hub-drive

Best suits City Riders and possibly tourers who want lower maintenance. A low maintenance and simple e-bike with good balance and internal hub gears is going to best suit ‘everyday riders’ who ride to get around the city with the occasional rail trail and just want a comfortable, safe and reliable e-bike.

  • Relatively cheaper than mid drives

  • Can DIY with large range of ‘off the shelf’ motors.

  • You can have a 2 wheel drive bike with the motor driving the front and your legs powering the rear. (Good for snow and sand)

  • Good weight distribution

  • Issues with climbing steep terrain

  • Since there is much less weight over the front wheel there is a tendency for the wheel to spin when accelerating on roads that have a layer of loose material or when climbing a steep hill.

  • The front hub motors generally are focused on the lower power range (250 watts to 350 watts). There are higher powered front hub motors but they are not as common because the front fork of the bike does not provide as much of structural platform when compared the frame of the bike (rear hub motors).

Rear Hub-drive

Best suits Riders who will often go off-road on steep/loose tracks. Also some city riders who are happy to prioritise the feel of the ride and accept higher maintenance on the rear wheel and weren’t going to choose internal hub gears in any case. It is best suited on high-end e-bikes where the rear wheels are built with high quality components and to a high standard of manufacture.

  • There is significantly less tendency for the rear wheel to spin on loose road conditions because the majority of the riders weight is over the rear wheel.

  • There is a wide range of power options (250 watts to 750 watts and beyond) because the bike’s frame provides a good structural platform to handle high torque from the motor.

  • No change to the design of the bike, so it can be retrofitted to almost any bike.

  • Light and manoeuvrable front end.

  • Maximum traction in adverse conditions

  • Changing a puncture can be tricky (invest in Some Marathon plus tyres)

  • Rear wheel and spokes under enormous stress

  • Many cheap options on the market, and when things eventually start to break, the work can be expensive and lengthy.

  • Hub gears aren’t an option

If you’re still unsure if you should go for Mid drive or hub motor on ebike come and talk to us. We have a few different types of electric bikes in our shop to try.


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